By Akeem Abas/ Oluwatope Lawanson/ Florence Onuegbu
Ibadan, June 25, 2020
The Oluyole, Ibadan, residence of former Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State wore a mournful look on Thursday evening as scores of sympathisers besieged the building following the reported death of the two-time governor.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the residence reports that a huge crowd had thronged the residence as early as 5.pm as news of the reported death filtered into the Oyo capital.
NAN reports that while the gate leading into the house was open, the main building was under lock,with the mourners milling around the premises and discussing the development in groups.
Although many of the former cabinet members were sighted at the residence, they declined to comment on the development.
Several calls made to the cellphone of Ajimobi’s spokesman, Bolaji Tunji, went unanswered while he also did not respond to a text message sent to his line by NAN correspondent.
Ajimobi was a senator from 2003 to 2007. After unsuccessful attempts, he was eventually elected governor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, becoming the first Oyo State governor to serve two terms.
Among the early mourners was Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo South), who described Ajimobi as his ” blood, leader and benefactor.”
Folarin, in a tweet few minutes after the news of Ajimobi’s reported death filtered into Ibadan, described his demise as saddening.
A former Lagos State governor, Sen. Bola Tinubu, has described the late ex-Oyo State Governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, as the best and most productive governor of the state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, in a condolence message in Lagos on Thursday, noted that Ajimobi was reputed to be the best and most productive governor Oyo State has had.
“In this assessment, I concur as do so many others.
“The numerous infrastructural and public works projects he initiated literally changed the face of Oyo State for the better.
“He broke a political jinx that many said could not be broken as the first governor to serve two consecutive terms in Oyo State.
“His legacy as a governor will be an enduring and positive one,” Tinubu said.
The News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late Sen. Ajimobi died on Thursday afternoon at the First Cardiology Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos, aged 70.
He will be buried on Friday in Ibadan according to Islamic rites.
Tinubu said with the demise of Ajimobi, the APC has lost one of its leading lights.
He described the late deputy National Chairman (South) of APC as an honest and forthright statesman who had the interest of the people at heart.
“Ajimobi’s death hurts.
“We shared a common progressive vision for our country and how to bring prosperity, justice and hope to its people.
“I have lost a dedicated friend, brother and ally.
“Nigeria has lost an outstanding statesman and one of its most able politicians.
“The Yoruba race and Oyo State have lost a favourite son.
“This good and excellent man has left us but his energy, activism and commitment to Nigeria and its people shall always be with us,” he said.
Tinubu said he would always remember and hold dear the vital contributions late Ajimobi made to the establishment of APC.
According to him, the history of APC would not be squarely written without Ajimobi.
He noted how Ajimobi worked with great commitment and sagacity to enshrine progressive governance in the party, Oyo and Nigeria itself.
“His recent emergence as the Deputy National Chairman of our party was in affirmation of his many years of service and devotion to the pursuit of democratic governance.
Tinubu extended his condolence to late Ajimobi’s family, especially his wife and children, adding that he was a loving husband and father.
He urged all to find strength in the good way Ajimobi lived his life and in the fine and good ideals for which he fought.
The former Lagos State governor advised all to carry on with the important task ahead because that is what the late Ajimobi would expect of all.
“My heart grieves for his wife, Florence, and their children.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed sadness over the demise of former governor of Oyo State, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi.
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, on Thursday described the death of Ajimobi as a great loss to his family, the people of the Oyo State and the country as a whole.
He said that Ajimobi’s death, after all efforts by medical professionals to stabilise him when he took ill, had opened a deep sore in the hearts of millions of Nigerians who looked up to him as a rallying point and a political stabiliser.
”The passage of Senator Ajimobi hurt me. My heart was filled with grief when I was informed that I had lost another political icon in our battle against the coronavirus.
”Senator Ajimobi was more than a politician, he was a man of many parts whose managerial skills and experience are required at this critical period in our national life.
”Senator Ajimobi was a distinguished Nigerian who bestrode the economic and political space of the country like a colossus. He made his mark in the corporate world before venturing into politics.
”As first elected governor to serve two terms in Oyo State, his achievements will remain indelible in the annals of political history of that state and Nigeria as a whole,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor commiserated with the deceased’s family, saying that the death of loved ones was usually one of the most painful episodes in peoples’ lives although death was inevitable.
”We all will die someday. Therefore we must gather enough strength to carry on.
”It is with heavy heart that I commiserate with his beloved wife, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, the children and other family members he left behind. My heart and prayers are with you all at this period of your grief. May God comfort you.
”May Allah grant the soul of late Isiaka Ajimobi eternal rest and preserve a place for him in Aljanah Firdaus,” he said.